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An Overview of the Newfoundland Çealing lndustry, the Animal Rights Movement and Resource Management Issues

Currently Facing the Newfoundland


Fishery Christopher C. Daley

Submitted in partial fulfillment of


Degree of


of Marine Studies Mernorial University of Newfoundland

St. John's,



16, 1999



1.1 Nttwfoundland Seal Processing Facilities >

1.2 Econornic Analysis of the Newfoundland Seal Harvest by the Department 10 of Fisheries arid hquûculrure for 1996

1.3 Economic Analysis of the Newfoundland Seal Harvest bp the Department 1 I of Fisheries and Ocems for 1996

I .4 Economic Analysis of the Nculi,undland Seai Hmest by the [ntemational 12 Fund for Animal Welfare for 1'396

2 . I Seai Protection Kegulations 2 0




I . 1 Information Package for Holders of Sral Fishing Licenses 1 2 1998 Sral hhnagrrnent Pian

I .3 S r d Protection Rrgulations


I would likc to thank Dr. Raoul Anderson for commrnts and suggestions on this reseÿrch paprr. Institutions inciuding the Canadian Sealrrs Association. the Depariment of Fisherks and Oceans. the Department of Fishrrirs and Aquaculture. m d the Inremational Fund for Animal Welfare provided support in the hm of both witten documentation and personal çornmunicütion that w r r invaluable in compiling nlrvant information. .-\mong man! who assistcd 1 am rspscially gratcfui to Tina Fagan and Jacquelyn Lake of the Canadian Srcilers Association. Roland Andrews of the Depanment of Fisheries and Ocrans and Ciiptain blorrissry Johnson for giviny insight that helped bnng my reselirch to lik. The) helped me understand the realititts ruid clmotions which surround the Newhundland sniling industry. Finally. th& yoii to Johnny Graham hr his cornputer

~ n d to Ralph Pynn for pro\ iding support and cncouragrmrnt throughout the pnper.


The sral hanest has played a major role in the cultural and economic development of Newtbundland for hundreds of years. Despitr thesr benrfits. the future of the harvrst is conditional on the international comrnunitirs~ support or condernnation. In contiiiuing efforts to do what they think is right for seals. and/or the sealing industry. animal tights proiips. sealers. and provincial and federal govemments argue their cases based on somr mix uf moral rights. rthnic sumival. economic value or scientitic evidence.

rhis report examines the history and ideology of both pro- and anti-sraling groups in an atternpt to comprrhend the rnany issues currently façing the Nwfoundlünd sealing

industry . The role of othrr stakeholders. especially fishrries scirntists. is exploreci to c l l i r i f - the positions taken by both sides and to identitj. what is required to allow the Netvtbundland seal harvest to continue.

fhr Newfoundland sealing industry continues to provide incornes tor hanesters and processing employrrs in the season where few. if ÿny. alternative sources of rmployment rire available. Derply rooted in the heritage and culture of its people. the sraiing industry plays a key rolr in preserving outport Newfoundland. While animal rights groups threatrn

to remove this integral part of native Nrwfoundlanders lives. it is important to undrrstiind the humane and conservation concerns advancrd by these groups. Whilr those opposrd tu the hunt are physically removed from it. they have the powrr to influence the

international community and markets which determine much of the industry's future. The condemnation and arrest of thosr who break the regulations appear to be effective in changing the conduct of the harvest. Initiatives to professionalize the fishery through rducation and training have heiped to address ihese concems. The Canadian Sealen

v i


.Association and the sealers thcrnselves are crucial to ensuring the success of these initiatives. Fisheries science continues to develop management and harvesting policies tliüt address the concems of al1 interestrd parties. Seal population sustainability continues to be hasrd on management objectives and market considerations. This direction is both biologically wise and widctly supported in the international çommunity. whilc loçriliy there are m i x d feelings. The rcqucst for additional funding from industq and govrmrnent is critical to maintain and improw tishrrirs science b r seds so thüt th&

future sustainability is protectcd with the use of nsw measures such as individual quoilis.

as one means to civoid rxceeding catch limirs. International cooperrition continiirs in the management of seal populations that cross international boundaritis. In addition to rhis informecl management process. the international community must be provideci with clcar and acciiratr intoimation. The continuation of çducational prognms promotcd on a national lrvrl may nssist in improving reliitionships with those who oppose the hunt. A consensus on the rconornic value of the sraling industry by animal rights groups and both

Ievels of the Nctwtoundland and Canadian govrrnments is required if rhe public is to he xcurütctly informrd. At this point the Nèwfoundland sealing industry appcars to have drveloprd to a stage where the harvest cm be justifird based on its dedication to sound

iishrries management and scienti fic advice.




... ...

List of Tables i i i

List of Appendices ... iv ...

.lçknowledgmcnts v


Abstrrict \,i

1.0 The Newfoundland Seal Fishew ... 1 ...

I . I -4 ? t istorical Perspective. I


1.3 Selilhg as a Distinctive Componrnt of the Sewfoundland Way of L i k 4 ...

1 3 tlürvssting Prxticrs 7


1 .J Structure and Value of the Contcmporary Newfoundlünd Seal Fishcry X ...

2.0 The Animal Rights Movement 16

2.1 Philosophicai Values of i h r Illovement ... 16 2 . 2 The Risè of thc Protest Movsrnènt ... \ X


2.3 The lntrrnational Fund for Animal Welfare's lrivestigation of the 24 Ywibundland Scal Fislicry

2.4 Changes Nredrd to Hslp R d u c r Cruelty to S r d s ... 23 ...

2.5 Changes Needed to Protect Seal Populations 2 1

2.6 An Alternative View of the Animal Rights Movement ... 3 1 3.0 Resource Management lssues Facing the Newfoundland Senling ... 33


... 3

3.1 Rcsource Management Considerations . . J 3


3 2 Management and Conservation Principles 34

3 7 ...

2.3 Sral Population Dyamics - 3 6

3 .J The Effects of Predation on Co-existing Species ... 39


3.5 Single Species and Ecosystrm Management J i


3.6 Political and Scicnti fic Issues Surroundhg the Commercial ..A3 Seal Harvest

4.0 Conclusion ... 47


5.0 Recommendations 5 1

- ' 5


References 2 3


1.0 The Newfoundland Seal Fishery

The followine C sections provide m overall description of the Ncwfoundland seal fishery. It outlinrs the seal tïshrrirs' importance to rural or outport Newfoundland as a historical subsistence and commercial fishrry. its potential for the continuation of a distinctive way o t' life for niral Newfoundland, mil its èconornic benetï ts.

1.1 An Historical Perspectivc

Seal hunting has figurrd in nonhrm coastal life for thousands of ';cars. :\s a r l y as jOOO BC. hlüritime hrchaic lndians wrre exploiting ihc harp srals hund ail along rht.

Netr foundland and Labrador coast. By 3000 UC. Prilcoeskimos w r c successt'ully

hunting ringed senls in the n u n h during the winter. and the f rst Europsrins to visit British Col urn bia fiund Ilaida. Nootka. and Tsimshian lndians busi ly hanwtinp P x i tic fur iecils

as part o h riçh marine resource base (Busch 1 W). In 1534 Frerich explorer Jacques C'artier notrd Labrador lndians taking seals in the Strait of Belle Isle (Anon 1984).

The tirst prerequisiir for a commercial sral h w e s t in Newfoundland was the

tsablishment of a permanent population with European commercial connections and the necessary technology. The second requirement was the establishment of tïxed settlements in certain specific locations throughout the island. In the initial stages men were

transportrd annually to the island in the spring to tish the once abundant çod stocks.

While this investment proved to be expensive for English companirs attemptiny to make a profit. it did. however. create settlrrnents when these migratory fishennen opted to live ysar round and raise their families in Newfoundland. In sornt: cases English companirs encouragrd thrir men to stay in order to develop a seal fishery. In the early 1600s. John Guy was appointed by the Bristol Company of London to rstablish a calony in

Newfoundland. While Newfoundlandos economic growth was slow at first due to the heavy dependence on cod, it p d u a l l y increased. As these îïshermen now wintered in


Newfoundland they saw srals carricd dong the icr tlows. Seals killed for subsistence providrd a uclcomr change from tnditional salt beef and pork. The skins were used for n

\,ariety of local needs including clothing. Commercial harvests soon followed. with the use of nets as the principal method for killing harp and bedlamer srals. In 1723. the tirst statistical account of sral oil production ro br used in lamps in industrial Britain w m recordrd. but by the late 1800s. however. petroleum products replaced traditional oils and drmand for seal oil decreasrd (Ryan 1994).

Pririr to 1940. seai meat and oil had btien the main sral products !or commercial sale: this çhangsd a k r 1943 ils the international demand for seal pt-lts incrrasçd. When

'Ieutoundland becarnt: a province of Canada in 1 9.19. the Canadim yovrmrnent

commenccd extensive research on the secil population whiçh resulted in closing dates for the harvrst in 1962 in ordrr to protrct adult frmalrs in rnolting concentrations. In the mid

IO6Os cinimal rights groiips eupressrd an interest in the h w e s t . diiiming that killing practices werr inhumane and the hum jeopardizrd the future sustainability OF the sral populations.

The International Fund for Animal Wrlfare (IFAW) and later Greenpeace and othrir groups now threatened the tùture existence of the commercial seal tishrry (Anon. 1984).

In response to these g r ~ w i n g conccms. the International Commission for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries. who represented most couniries fishing in Atlantic waters. bçgan scientific studies of seal populations. Further scientific information carne Rom the

Cornmittee on Seals and Sealing. rstablished to provide the Canadian Federal Minister of Fisherirs with indrpendent management advice in 197 1. A Canadian quota was set in 197 1 for 245.000 seals. it was reduced to 150.000 t'rom 1972 to 1975. and further reduced to 127.000 in 1976. The formation of a 100-mile tkhery jurisdiction for Canada in 1977 brought more control and at this point. northem native hunten were included in total


allowable catch calcul~tions. The seal harvest now took a tum for the worst in 1983 due to protests by mima1 rights groups when the European Econornic Community approved 3. directive banniny the importation of pelts from whitecoat harps ( pups less than 14 days old) and bluctback hoodrd seals ( 18 months old) (Anoo 1984). At this point markets for whitecoat h q seals were nonexistent (Anon 1983).

This essentialiy markrd the end of the large-scale seal h w r s t in 1983 carrisd on by 30- ro 56- mctcr vessels hunting mainly Young harp seais (whitecoats) in the nonhem ice I l o ~ s . S r w n to 30- meter boats now txploiied ail oi' the rivailable seal quota. In the next

1 5 ) e u s the ssüliny industry undenvent major changes: the focus was on full utiiization of tbc entire seal. and the industry now professionülized under the direction of the Crinadian Sealers .Association and the Departmeni of Fishtrries and O ç e m s u f Crinada.

Population sustüinabilit! and humane killing practicrs continues to b r y i w n high priority

( Fügan 1 998). The Canadian stialing indusiry hançsted 01-rr 280.000 sesls in 1 998 N hiçh is 5000 o w the estnblished limit and will rnaintain this quota of Y j . O U O selils in 1999

!!ive 3

(hn.irews 1999). îhe 1998 Canadian S r d Management plans in Appendix 1.3 _ ' detailrd ûccount of the regulations and quotas governing the 1998 srül harvttsr.

Selil harvcistiny has had three distinctive penods. In the 1700s blubbtir was the main commodity. and was uscd for food. fuel and other applications: in the mid 1900s the interests shi fied to pelts: the modem seal tîshery from 1 960 onwards continues to b r challenged by the animal rights movernent and conservation concems as attempts are made to utilize the entire seal (Shahidi 1998).

The historicûl commercial fishery built financial empires for only a few merchants but exacted a high price tiom its thousands of participants. Different histones draw different conclusions about the social, ecological and moral impact of the seai hunt. They do.


however. share t h e virw that the rigon of harp sraling. not only the profit. cmbedded it in the folk tradition of Atlantic Canada. and sspecially Nrwtbundland. Convincing evidencc cornes from data showing that between 1800 and 1865 npproximatrly 100 boats and

1000 livtis were lost during the hunt. The worst year. among mony bad ones. for the whitecoat hunt was in 19 12 when more than 300 men were eithsr tiozen or drowned in one night ( Wenzrl 1991 ). Shannon Ryan. in his paper. "Newfoundland Sealing

Disasters". quotrs George Allan England. that "The seal hunt is without question the preatcst hunt in the world. not oniy in the number of mammals slaughtered but cilso in point oî'prrils t'rom icr. blizzards. tire. explosion and d r o ~ n i n g . A wholr catüloyue ul' hardships that only Ntru foundlanders c m possibly endure" ( Ryan 1 990). For rural Newfiundlondtxs. the importance of the hunt's timing. its dangers. potrntial protitability and folk mttcuiing all c a r y o w r ti, t1:r rnodrm hunt. Evrn when harp sealing. tspecially the hmrr spring whitrçoüt hunt. chünyrd froin ü tishtiman's supplemcntal octivity to its modern industrial commercial fom. it continucd to mnke a significani contribution to the rçonomy of rural outpons by providing an eçonomic bridge betwt.cn socid assistance m d

tishing ( Wenzel 199 1 ). In the absence of a winter incorne from fishing. shares from the sral harvest dlowed the men to provide their h i l i e s with provisions. %hile many men recrivrd little of their shares as cash becausr of their ongoing ciccounts with supplying mrrchants. it provided collateral for credit whilr they were out on the ice (Ryan 1994).

1.2 Sealing as a Distinctive Component of the Newfoundland Way of Life

Allan Herscovici. a Canadian joumalist. suggests that Newfoundlanden. were really not t n o w to the rest of the world uniil the seal protest movernent began. Ironically. the tirst timr that the world would hear about the province in recent decades was when

anti-sealing protesten portrayed its people as barbaric and uncivilizrd (Herscovici 1985).

Newfoundland people have stniggled to defend themselves and the reasons why it is important for them to participate in the seal hunt. Over the years industiy and govemment


have worked to educate prople internationally about the hunt. The traditional x a l h m e s t helped people to survive by providing a supplemrntary incorne ro many Newfoundland families when there was a scarcity or lack of other specirs to exploit or no othrr sources of ernploymttnt. The seal tishery required participation by the entirr outport

Newt'oundland household. Husbands and sons harvested the seals. while \vives and other h i l y mrrnhers prepared their men for the hunt and cared for the household in iheir absence. While the offshore hunt did not involve the rntire household in the proçessing of srals. the landsmen or inshore hunts involvttd entire hmilies in procuring ruid processing seal carcasses (Lronard 1949). In some regions there kvas ü n additional opponunity to uork in local seal processing tactories (Fagûn 1998). l'able 1 . 1 lists the current seal procrssing t'acilities in Nrwfoundland.

S . .

I .oc'itfi~n

Carino Dildo. Triniiy Bay


North East Sralers Coop Caboto Seahods

Dave Hiscock Ltd.

lndian Bay Srafoods

Catalina. Bonavista Bay F k u r De Lys. White Bay Baie Verte. White Bay Brigus. Conception Bay Centreville. Bonavista Bay

Fogo Island Coop Fogo. Notre Dame Bay

The traditional way of life resulting from the seal fishery continues to be under constant threat. and it is important to appreciate the complex dependency upon the seal tishery to

understand its persistence. Andre Longford, a past sealer. quoted in an article published


by the Toronto Star said: "For the last 10 years. they've wanted us to stop hunting the ahite pups. and we did. riow they w ~ m t us to stop everything. How do they expeci us to live?" (Worsley 1984). The article described the hardship which Longford and another hamester had endured: "Like other fishermen on the island ot'Ncwfoundlmd, seder Andre Longforil depends on unrmploymrnt insurance io get through the winter. Hr gets S3OJ per month from the govrrnmcnt. but reports hr pays $500 prr month in rrnt.

Without the $3000 he ussd to make tiorn the séai hunt his annual income has t'allen tu 55000." hnothrr tishtmnan M t that mti-sealing groups wcre slowly killing their culture and iradirion and would not let his Young son tollow in his Looisteps ( Worslry 1984).

k i r adjustment is marginal in today ' s industrial society. This inarginali ty cuid their smdl numbers lrad some u-riters to conclude the- are targeted becausr tht'y are ueük and ciccording to Flrirscovici. protest orgünizations take aim at huntrrs and trnppers becausr thcy are the poorcst Canadians. the rnost isolated and the irrist able to defend themsrlves on the intemütional stage (Hersçovici 1985).

Todriy's sed fishrry is comprised mainly of inshore fishermrn who have hrrn severely impacted by the 1997 cod moratorium. Although they receivrd yovrmment assistance ihrough The Atlantic Groundfish Sircitegy (TAGS). thesc inshore fishemen have few opportunities to Cam 3n income other than by income assistance. Unabls to catch çodtish in most arcas of the province. and rcstricted to rxtremçly low catches of lobster.

mackerel. hemng. etc.. many of thern depend upon the winter seal hunt to supplrmrnt thrir income. While the crab and shnmp industry currently provides annual incornes of

$6000 to $30.000 for crew members (vesse1 owners earn more) it is insufficient to support al1 of their families needs (Leonard 1999). Wrekly Employmrnt Insurance benefits of $300 to $400 in the winter months are helpful, but the incomes of $500 to

$1500 per weck for four to six weeks provide a better standard of living. In addition fishermen would rather work than receive unemployment benefits (Bath 1999). At the


conclusion of 1999. the TAGS program will no longer rxist. If fisherrnen cannot exploit a misture of resourccs throughout the sntire year in anticipation that collrctively they will yirld a decent incorne. they have little hope for the future. Sealers are no exception.

Dependence on the seal fishrry as a rnrans to supplement other incornrs çannot be undttrestimated or over-rated. It is not by popular choicr that seals are killed. but out of the nrcessity to provide an acceptable standard of living (Bath 1998).

1.3 Harvesting Practicev

The offshore tlert trrivels 50-350 kilometers to the cdgc of the northem ice in snrly hlÿrch

#hsre the s e d s mrty h r found on top of the pack ics. The inshore t1c.t.t trnwls only a f w kilometers tu harvrst local sral populations. Shooting is the most common method of harwsting the vürious sprcies of srais. whilr clubbing or striking the sral on top of the heiicl is p t t m i t t d with specitlcally rrgulatrd tools. Historically seds werc killed mainly rvith clubs. but due to growing opposition from minial rights groups. including

Greenpeace and the International Fund tOr Animal Welfare. the rnajwity u f

Newfoundlmd seal hmesters have teplacrd clubs and hakapiks with d e s (Anon 1997).

Rifles make it easirr to kill the seals upon consideration that quite otien sealrrs have to chase seals in order to club them. However. çlubbing still occun in nonhem huit regions and to 3 lesser extent in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and remains the most effective means to minirnize suffering to the seal. This is rspecially truc when considering that wounded seals are often not retrieved. In addition. harvesters do not have to incur expensive ammunition costs (Bath 1998).

Seal harvesters must follow regulations outlined in the m u a 1 harvest management plan.

According to these regulations penons can only dispatch marine mammals in a manner designed to do so quickly; a senous attempt must be made to utilize as much of the mammal as possible; they must serve an apprenticeship prior to receiving a commercial


licrnsr: and those wishing to reccive a persona1 sealing license must complete a hunters ç a p a b i l i ~ test ( Sral Management Pian 1997). Appendix 1.1 includss a 1997 information package for holders of sral fishing licenses which furthtir describes regdatory instruments aimed at ensuring that the srai hunt is carried out in a hurnane and sustainable fashion.

1.4 Structure and Value of the Contemporary Newfoundland Seal Fishery The commercial hanest is prosecu~rd using long liners or small boats and to a much lesser e'ctent. on hot or snowmobiles where the içe is solid and setils are c!ose to shore. The largest hwest. uhich consists of an ofkhori: hunt in northern icr tlous. has approxirnately 70 modem 45- to 65- h o t vessels that have essrntiülly repiücsd

iraditional vessrls exçrrding 65 tZer as a result of the çlosurr of the ~\hitecoüt hunt. Thest.

wssrls employ sticvn to eight h a n e d m raçh. The amaller sraling tlrrt uses 3 t o 28-fout open boats to hunt scals relarivrly close to the land and e m p l o y an average of two to threr harvrstrrs prr boat. The sed species that are hunted. indude Ii;up. hoodcd.

ring. grey. and beardrd seals ( Seal Management Plan 1997). In 1999. 775.000 harps tvill be takcn. as well as 10.000 hoods. Thertt are no total dlowable catches hr other se&

Experimental licrnses will be used for the harvest of ringcd seals. Finallu. a subsistencr harvcst will also tahe place for aboriginals with no set quota (Andrews 1994). The harvrst of young harps under I O days old (whitecoats) and young hoods (blurbacks) under 18 months old is prohibited. This is the stage :et which nrither have begun to molt. The scason commences on November 15 and ends on May 15 (Anon 1998). Drspite this early opening date the hunt usually begins in eîrly Febniary in order for harvesters to reach high concentrations of seals brought in by the northern icr tlows.

A s the seal harvest employs over 3000 seal harvesters and 300 processing employecs.

Tina Fagan, Executive Director of the Canadian Seaiers Association. ferls that the harvest plays an important role in Newfoundland's economy (Fagan 1998). In 1996 the


provincial Department of Fishcries and Aquaculture cstimated the value of the harvest and rhci procrssing sector at $1 1.000.000 and $9.000.000. respectively (Efford 1997). The Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans. howcvsr. estimates the value to hanesters

iit $j.000.000. and sgrees with the processing value at $9.000.000 (Andrews 1999). Clive Southey. Department of Economics. Guelph University. Ontario. retained by the IFAW.

disputes both of these daims. and estimates the value to be zero (Southey 1997). Tables 1 2. 1.3. md 1.4 give threr srparate rconomic analyses o t' the Newtoundland seai tishery provided by the Nrwtbundlÿiid Depanment of Fisherirs and .kpaculture. the Department 01' Fishrriss and Ocrans. m d the International Fund for .+\nimal Wei h r c . fhese di f i r i n g econumic values have bern the source of both heatrd controLVersy and misunderstmding ot'the inciustry and its value.


Table 1.2 Ecooornic Analysis of the Newfoundland Seal Harvest by the Department d A q u i w h r e for 1996 @non 1997)

Esfimated Export Ciilur of Seals /rom the Province of Newfoundland:

Pelts 246.000 x $46 (semi-processed) $ 1 1.3 l6.000

~ I C B ~ tluman Ccnsurnption JfIO.(ln0 u $O.iOilh tS ZClO.000 ..\nimal Feed/Byproducts:

\ 40.000 carcasses x 10lbs x $0.1 7ilb S 238.000 40.000 carcasses x 40 Ibs x $O. 1 7/lb $ 372.000 Oi1 Human Consumption: 500.000 lbs x W l b $ 2.500.000

Industrial Grade: 2.500.000 Ibs Y. $0.16/1 b 3 J00.000

Orgrns 30,000 ;u lS30 $ 900.000

Flippers 100.000 units x $3 $ 200,000

Value Added. Infrastructure, Spin-offs $ 5 .000.000 Estimated Total Value S2 1,026,000 Less (Total Subsidy) S 925,000

Note: These subsidirs. which are provided by the govemmrnt to rissist in

oifsetting the costs of lower valued sral products (including merit). will be tenninated in the year 1000.


Table 1.3 Economic Aniilysis of the Newfoundlnnd Seal Harvest by the Department d O c e w for 1996 ( A ~ e c v s 1999)

Hlwesting Value Processing Valus

Pet ts $2.900.000 $5.800.000

bleat $1.700.000 $ 700.000

O rgmh $ 470.000 S 040.WO

Oil & Blubber


370.000 ~1.500.000

Fl i ppers % 1 W.000 % 190,000

To ta1 $5.630.t)00 $r).130.000

htal V&t: to Newtb- E-my '3 1 -L760&00

Note: The value to the processiny sçctor for msat is


1 .VO0.000. The â 1.200.000

govemment subsidy for seal meat has been deductcd Icriving a value of $700.000.


Table 1.4 Econornic Analysis of the Newfoundland Seal Harvest by the Interniitiuniil Fundfor a lW e W o r 1996 (Southey 1997)

The brst cstimate of the output o f the cntire indusrry in 1996 is 58.96 million. Of this.

$2.65 million is needrd to cover purchasrd inputs (ammunition. hrl. insurance. etc. 1.

Subtracting expenses leaves only $6.3 1 million of value-added.

Government subsidirs for mrat transport and processing amount to



million. A tùrther $1.67 million is spent by govrrnment on inspection. rescue. m d support of the industxy

Yrt potsntial benrfits are now only $2.9 million.

Lleat subsidies cire threr to four tirnrs Iiirger than the value of the procrssrd m a t in the market: wct are told that 6.5 million pounds ofineat was processcd. that is 7.5 times iiiorr than in the prrvious year. Given that costs xi: many multiples of revenue. the gain of çlaiming subsidies but dumping or discarding the meat would hiive k e n huge.

.At l e s t 30.290 penises werr collrcted and procrssrd mJ account for 60.94 million. The Director Genrral. Resource Management of the Department of Fisheries and Oçeans.

sugpsts that the t m r figure is as high as 50.000 penises. Without penises. value-added by the hunt drops to $1.97 million.

Old harp seals. penises and meat subsidies cover fully 75*4 of the landed value paid to sealers.


Conchsions of IFAW

In 1996. Canadian tmpayers sprnt about 3.4 million to subsidize the landiny of seal rneat for new developing markets. not counting the Canadian Sealers Association and finance to other industry support and inspection services. Value-added by the hum is a mrre 0.06% of the Gross Domestic Product of Newfoundlmd. The commercial hunt only addrd the quivalent of 100- I ?O Ml-time jobs (0.006?/0 of the 19.000 rmployed in Newfoundland). In essence. Canadian taupayers are spendiny $28.250-$33.900 for evsry iùll-time position in the sealing industry. The sealing industry is hravily dependent on

meat subsidies and the sale oK seal penises which IFA W tind rsprciall) ofknsivr. rhese constitute WXI of the revenue of sralers and boat o w w s nhrr pa) ing for fuel.

ammunition. etc. if ut. elimincitr the seal ment subsidies. stop the trade in penises. and xçount for the tme costs of labor and capital. the net value of the seal hunt to Canada ris a N holr is zero ( Southey 1997).

fhc report makes no attempt to calculate the "hidden" or less tangible costs of the hunt.

such 3s. loss of tourism revenue duc: to diimage to Canada's reputation. In essence. the iFAW's answer to the question "1s the commercial seal hunt wonh it?" is no. rhis Animal Rights Group feels that the seal fishery is far from rconomically benriicial to its iisers (Southey 1997).

The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture. Department of Fisherirs and Oceans. and the International Fund t'or Animal Welt'are use diffèrent calculations to arrive rit the net economic benetit to the Newfoundland economy. The core of the tirst two differences lies in the definition of landed value. The provincial department uses al1 revenues extended to the Nrwfoundland economy in direct and indirect spin-otTs including those to trucking.

fuel. ammunition. supplies, etc. These costs are not subtracted from total revenues in calculating the net benetit. However, Roland Andrews o f the Department of Fisherirs


and Oceans kels that these are actual costs and should be subtracted from the total revenue. In other fishrnes evaluated by the department. the total landed value is derivcd tiy iisiog catch receipts multiplied by sales valur (Andrews 1999). The $5.34 1 .O00 diffrrrnçr in the sealing industry valur estimations betwern the Nrwfoundland

eovemment and the Department of Fisheriès and Oceans is significant for thosr groups


rhlit use economic brnetits to support m increasrd commercial seal harvest. The discrepançy in subsidy totals is also a significant point of contention for both

drpartmttnts. .-\ddditionri rescarc h is required to idcnti @ what the actual subsidies were.

Whilr boih rrçognizr the valur to the Newloundlmd economy. ihis major Jillkrrncr in both the laiidrd valur inci subsidy may be used as a point of argument t'or thosr in opposition to the wal hamest.

In the IFAW cinalysis. Southey daims that the value of the sealing industn; lias been counted two or three times what it is xtually wonh. He includrs costs that the provincial Depanment ot' Fisherirs and .4quaculture have includcd as revenue as opposed to Lin cxptinse. The fedrnl Department of Fisheries and Ocrans do not include thesri as a value to industry. Thçse includr Southey's projections of $?.6OO.OOO for ammunition. Ncithrr the provincial nor fedenl Departments' of Fisherirs have included the costs of inspection.

sclirch and rescue. and industry support. Southey estirnates it to be $1.670.000. His anülysis indicates a direct total subsidy cost of $1.720.000. The sale of organs was

5940.000 according to Southey. while the provincial department cstimated thrm at

$900,000 and DFO estimated them to be $l.J10.000. The report provided by The

lntrmational Fund for Welfare in Table 1 .J does not provide details conceming the value of the industry. Further investigation into rasons behind differences in estimaies werr not successtùl; therefore their estimations cannot be confirrned. Their conclusion that the net value to industry is $2,900.000 and reduces to zero in the absence of a seal penis trade remains open to further analysis and discussion. While the fedenl and provincial


departments dispute the value. thry agree that the sealing industry makrs a significant econornic contribution to the Nrwtbundland economy. Upon review of the nccountability and lrgislation goveming bath the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture and the

Department of Fishrries and Oceans. it is clear that ihrir estimations should provide the highrst drgree of riccuracy. This is tme cspecially for the fedrral Department of Fisherics and Ocrans whose responsibility is to sen?<: all of Canada as opposed to strictly



2.0 The Animal Rights Movement

The animal rights movement has been a major impedirncnt to revitalizing the sealing industry to historical Irvrls. An ûppreciation of the ideologies and perspectives of this inovement is crucial to understand the motivation driving protest çarnpaigns against the seaiing industry. This chapter descri bes their key arguments. inciuding cruelty to srals.

the threat to population sustainability. tisheries interactions. and low economiç retums.

2.1 Philosop hical Values of the Movement

The social roots of the animal rights movrmeni lie in the changrd relationship brtu r r n humans and their fellow çreaturtrs. This change was a result of a urbanization and industrialization in western societirs: city dwellsrs began to consider animüls unly as pris. and less and less as instruments for hbor and production (Nrlkin I 992).

Humans. for some time. have projected onto iinimals the charactcristics of humüns.

thtiretore strttngthening the defense for animal survival. People ssr animals i i k humiins in being sensitive tn pain. having rtmotional bonds such 3s love and loyalty. as weil as the ability to plan and communicate. People have long rndowed animals with human

çharrictrristics-- crafty foxes. grerdy piys. lazy cats. OHen the traits that brlong to animals are personalized to the extent where hurnms are placed below animals in perceiveci Itivels of imponancr (Nelkin 1992). If animals share so many human characteristics.

what are the essential differences'? The distinction between humans and animals is the kry issue in the growing number of disputes over animal rights. especially in

Newfoundland where harvesters sometimes fer1 that animal riyhts groups consider srals as more important thm humans as a result of their attempts to stop the hunt. Quite often many wonder why the killing of other animals or living creatures does not receive the sarne attention and opposition. For example, in slaughterhouses. millions of animals are stumed into unconsciousness. then killed by bleeding. Egit Ole Oen of the Nonvegian


Collegr of Veterinary Medicine daims. however. that many are not pmperly stunned prior to blerding. inflicting much pain on the animal. This issue has nnt bern iiddresscd by animal rights groups (Anon 1998). The ditTerencrs in perception c m only be rxplained by an examination of belirfs. cultural preferences. personal values and mords (Nelkin

1992). Millions of people living in the United States. the United Kingdom and Western Europe now hold as m article of hith that the presenation of srals in Canadian waters is a moral test ot' the relationship between humans and othrr mimals on the pla.net. Since Canada cürries out the largest commercial seal harvrst in the world. it srrms logicül that

i t & i l 1 rccrivtr the largest degree of publicity ( Wrnzel 199 1 ).

Supporters o t' animai wrl farr emphasize the nrtrd to avoid intlicting sut'fering. rhrir main cuncerns deal \+ith the rnanner in uhich mimals are killed and the tiffects on the population. If thry are convinceci that the killing can be çamttd out humanrly without intliçtinp signifiçmt sutt'srinp. they would probablg drvelop long-trn policirs which thry would expt'ct hamsters to follow. If. however. therc: is rvidencr that cinimals are subjrctrd to excessive pain and suffcnng. an attempt to gain public support for ri çiosure of a directed harvrst will quickly be initiated. The fundamental argument put fonvûrd by animal rights groups is that animals have certain rights among which is the nght to life without suffering. These groups atternpt to look at questions h m the non-human viewpoint and to treat the rights of animüls as rssentially similar to thosr of humans

(.bon 1986).

In cornparison to other seal harvests. Canada is both larger in scali: and involvement. and therefore exerts more energy in dealing with animal rights groups. In the Nonhwest Temtories. Russia and Greenland there is not a high degree of opposition directed toward native aboriginals hwiting for subsistence and for commercial harvests. However,


Greenland hunts over 50.000 harp srals alone. plus an qua1 iiumber of ringed scals annual ly with no quota. while Russia has a total allowable catch of less than 70.000 hürp seals. In Third World countnes. inciuding Namibia. the seal population had k e n

ovmxploited by foreignrrs but now has an rstimated population growth of 3% mnually in their absence. In Uruguay. the hunt was suspended in 1991 due to overexploitation and is currently allowing the rebuilding of stocks nt 3%. In the United States there is no commercial seal hanest: this is possibly due to local opposition to the hunt and a Mammal Regdation banning the importation of seal products. Noway. which is

çurrenily aitempting to rebuild seal markets and drvelop an increasrd cummercio

kl arine


hanest. is experiéncing problems similar to those expttriençrd in Canada (.-\non 1997). In order to understand the situation in these regions. further resrarch is required. t I o H ~ c . ~ . reylirdlrss of the Irvel of direct public opposition to the hunt for eithrr subsistenw or çornrnsrciül value. dl rcgions have bern deeply impactrd by importation bans and media ç m p a i g n s initiated by animal rights groups throughout the world.

2.2 The Rise of the Protest Movement

Iiiterçst in harp sral conservation and the rnethods used to kill seals was fint hroached in 1949 hy Dr. Harry Lillie. ü Scottish surgeon and consrrvationist. who had long b e n critical of whaler's techniques. Lillie accompanied the Newfoundland ileet as a mrdiçal officer on the MV Codroy; hr witnessed events. which in his opinion. wrre both horri5ing and cruel: "Whirecoats were generally killed quickly by a blow on the hcad.

but occasionally I saw men in a hurry just daze them with a kick and cut the little bodies out of the pelts whik they lay on their backs still crying." Lillie was equally appalled by the wastage that for so long had been part of the adult seal hunt noting that "Some seals died at once. others, shot through the neck or lungs. writhed in pain until they flopped over the cdge into the water to die out of sight. I saw as many as Five seals frorn one single large ice pan disappear, leaving five trails of blood" (Candow 1989).


In St. John's. Nrwfoundland following the hunt. Lillir met sealing captains and representatives of the ownrrs of vessrls. Many of the captains serrncid sympathetic but were unawarr of a n y irnprovernents in the niethodology used in killing the seals. Lillie subsqusntly travrled to Ottawa for talks with officiais in the kdcral Department of Fisheries and Oceans. but. therr: was no positive response to the cruelty issue.

Disillusionrd by the government's lack of response. Lillie returned to the içr tloes in 1955. tiimed the hunt. and aftrnuards distributrd copies of his film rhroughout Yonh .-\rnerica. Sirnultaneously the British public werr becoming aware of the perceivecl injustices camed out in the seal hunt. In 1955. Lillie wrote a book about the scal tishrry titlrd. Thr I'urlr ThrorcgIi Prnytrin C ' i ~ p . which containcd his account of the 1949 seal hunt. Althoiigh neither the book nor the film created large public attention. the seal issue had b r r n brought into rhe open for the t htimr. .As iime passed. public interesr in the issue grrw (Cnndow 1 989).

The crudty issue exploded onto the international sccne in 1964 ahet the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's French-language television nctwork aircd a film on the seül hunt. '-Les Pliogue. de la Barquise". as part of its series o n huntiny and fishing in Quebec.

The film contained footagr on the Maydalen lslands sral hunt. including one sccne where a seal was skinned dive and its carcass lefi M i n g on the icr. The film causeci an uproar all over Quebec and also inspired Peter Lust. editor of a Gcrman-langunge weekly

magazine. to w-rite an article titled, "Murder Island" which eventually was dissrminatrd throughout Europe. At this point. the Canadian govemment was facing an international protest. The outcry forced the government to take action. After consultation with representatives of the sealing industry, humane societies. and the Canadian Audubon Society. the Canadian govemment introduced the Seal Protection Regulations on October 19. 1964 (Candow 1989). Several of these regulations are listed in the following table.


Reg 15 ( 1 )

Reg 14 ( l a )

Reg 17

Reg 18 Reg 2 l (a)

No person shall use a hrlicopter or other nircraft in sraling rxcrpt in searching for seals.

No person sliall engage in sraling by m y mrms in the Gulf 3rea or front are3 unless he has a s d t i r s license or an assistant sealers license issud by the minister.

A sealers licrnse shall not be iisued ro an? person who has had Iess than two years as a seüler.

Ni, person shall take or kill srals in the Gulf area or fiont by ciny means other than by

( 3 ) a c l u b made o f hardwood not lrss than 24 inçhes or more than 30 inçhes in lrngth and that for at lrast h a l f of its lzngth is not Icss than 2 inches in diameter.

( b ) a rifle firing only center fire cartridgrs. not made with metal ç a s d hard point bullets.

No person shall hook. commence to skin. bleéd. smash or inûkr an);

incision on a scd with a k n i k or riny irnplement until the seal is Jead.

No prrson shall kill adult harp seals in whelping or breeding patches.

Except with the permission of the Ministrr. no person shall take or move a live seal


. . . irimmediatem




i t i s . S . .

The complrte 1964 Sral Protection Rrgulations are included in appendix 1.3

It was later discovered that the French film had been staged. A Magdalen Islands tisherman gave a swom statement that he had been paid to skin a \ive seal. ln addition.

he had done so on March 3, 1964, before the sealing season officially began. However.

the regulations were established and protest groups became involved with anti-sealing


çampaigns. Observers from both pro- and cinti- sealing groups wouid now observe the seal hunts for the years to follow. reponing to the International community what the- had seen (Candow 1989).

Brian Davirs. a drdicatrd animal rights activist. was one of the most influential nnti-ssnling protesters who frrquently brought the protrst to the i c r each ycar. Davies joinrd the New Brunswick SPCA in 1961 and became interestrd in the seal hunt on btay

20. 1964. when hr ünrndrd a meeting of govemmrnt. the sealing industry. and humant.

society representatiws in Moncton. Davies becürnr convinccd alier the meeting ihat on wer-çapitalizrd industry was intent on killing ihs Iüst seal pup in order to get a retum on its cquipmrnt (Cündow 1989). Despite clearly positive stütements by oihtir obsenws.

Dûvies m d another anti-seül protester. Dr. Elizabeth Simpson. continuousl~ made neyativr descriptions of the hunter as bring barbxic and cruel. Davies occrisionally travrled to Europe to güther support for the anti-sealing ç m p a i g n m d attemptrd to gain support for a ban on sen1 imports in European çountrics. The international seal fur trrtdc was significantly rrducrd dut: to etlbrts by Davies and his fellow protestcrs. Public support for the ban of seal products quickly gainrd momentum as cmpaigns were initiatrd in Europe and North Amenca. The support of medical experts and celebritirs further strenghenrd the campaign. It is noteworthy that in 1968 Davis brought a group of European veterinary pathologists to the ice to examine the seals aftrr they had died. It was later reported that Davies had insisted that the pathologists not comment on whether or not the hunt was cruel but rather state that the seals suffered atter the tlrst blow by sealen. The pathologists later confîrmed that of the 36 1 carcasses they exarnined. 96.7%

were deemed to have been unconscious pnor to skinning (Candow 1989). While Davics has not denied or accepted responsibility for this action. there is no solid proof that it did occur.


In response to the growing çoncems of vanous interest grwps regarding the management of ssal populations. in 1966 countries belonging to the International Commission for Nurthwest Atlantic Fishrrirs (ICNAF) agrerd to manage the stocks on an international hasis. Sincr harp and hood seals migrate betwen Canada and Greenland. and countt-ies including Norway harvested a portion of the Canadian front and Gulf herd which are part of a single Northwest Atlantic population. an international management regimc was required if the stock was to be managed effectively. Brginning in 1 97 1 quotas werr ÿpplied. first by ICNAF and. cifier the introduction of the Canadian 200-mile tjshrries juridiction. bp Canada acting on the advicr of the Nonhwst Atlantic Fishrries

Orgünizcition prior to 1 Y8 j and following 1945. The quota was set indspendently b e t w r n

these timr periods. Some of the main management mrasurrs implrmentrd for hiirp and hood srals included opening and slosing dates. licrnsing requirrments. prohibition of M i n g certain types of seals and total aIlowablr catches (Anon 1986).

Brim Davies Ieti the New Brunswick SPC.4 in t 969 because some members k!t that the associatiun was nrglrcting animal welfarr in New Brunswick at the expense of the ssriling issue. He was allowed to take with him the asscts of the Save the Seals Fund.

which he later used to establish the International Fund t'or Animal Wclfxe (IFAW).

Within four yem. IFAW was gentirating annual revenues in rxcrss of $500.000. In 197 1.

both lFAW and the European Cornmitter: h r the Protection of Seals offered to pay sealers not to hunt. Three years later [FA


hired the New York advertising fim of

McCann-Erickson to CO-ordinate its "Stop the Seal Hunt" campaign. Nrwspapers.

national magazines. billboards and radio were also used to spread the anti-sealing message. Although the campaign cost ovrr $100.000. this was more than covered by the fund's incrcased revenues, which leapt from $5 13,334 in 1973 to $805.14 1 in i 974 (Candow 1989). m i l e these figures are presented by Candow. a literature search did not confirm the accuracy of these revenues; M e r investigation is necessary.


In 1976. the IFA W shared the anti-sealing cmpaign with a nrw group. The Greenpeace Foundation had bern formrd in British Columbia in 1975 to protest Amcrican

underground nuclctar tests and also had some history with the whaling protest in the Pacitic Ocron. Greenpeace becamr involved with srveral controversial protests including a trip to St. Anthony. Newfoundland. and a visit to the ice whrre they threatzned to spray seül furs with paint. Despitr its participation in local meetings. the exact concems of Greenpeace remain unçlear. It may have been the crurltp issue or the thrent of rrduction in the seal population (Candow 1989).

In 1977. Canada look management control of dl tishrries within 700 miles of its coüstline. i'his also impactrd the exploitation of the srül tishciry. Canadian sral hunts were now o b s c n d more crirefully. The entire structure of the seal tishrry b q ü n ro chance ahrr 1983 whrn the sral hunt was no longer carrird out in whelping

concentrations. IFAW and Grernprax continurd. howevrr. to block both fishrrics.

(irrttnpcace director. Paul Watson. receivtid media attention at the beginniny of the hunt.

blarch 15.1977. by handcuffing himsd f to one of the ships. Earlirtr that day. Watson and two othrr Greenpeace members had thrown pelts and clubs into the water. and Watson had even lain down on the ice in front of a sealing ship. forcing it to stop. At the same timr. IFAW's Bnan Davies brought people. especially celebritirs including Lorena Swit.

to the ice. lFAW and Greenpeace were joined in 1977 by a millionaire Swiss

conservationist. Franz Weber. head of the Franz Weber Foundation. who O tTered to pay the Canadian government $2.5 million to stop the hunt and later offered to build an artificial fur factoty in Newfoundland to employ displaced sealers. The offer was rejected and Weber did not becorne involved in the hunt again (Candow 1989).

According to Herscovici ( 1985). as the contlict continurd into the late 1970s. the

protesters suffered credibility probiems including staged appearances with former sealers


paid to tell lies regarding skinning seals alive. lFAW had its registered charitable organization status revokrd because Revenue Canada saw it as using its monry t'or polirical purposes. and not dirrçtly for charitable reasons. Revenue Canada automatically rcquestrd its s h x r of taves of ovrr â I .2 million. In responsr. IFAW moved its

hradquarters to the United States to regain its registered charitable organization status.

.At this point its rnembership was reported at 800.000 (Hcrscovici 1985). The Grernpeiicr:

organization also bod difficultirs. Paul Watson was exprlled by the foundation's board of directors for over-running their budget by 615.000. Watson. who thrn foundrd the

Earthlorcr: Environmental Society. clüimrd that Greenpeace wüs only intrrested in iuming a protit in the sral protest because of its high lrvel of support md ability to enerate high revenues through donations. At this point the intsgrity of the seül protrst movtimrnt \vas srvttrely questionrd by its own mcmbers. But this setback u-as only

temporas.. Watson's yroup purçhased a vessrl. the S a Shepherd. which was usrd in 1979 to sriil to the icr wherr: ht: iind his çrrw were arrestrd for spraying Jyr on more thon 200 whitecoat pups. Watson was fineci $8300. sentenced to jüil for 15 months. and subsc.qurntly placed on threr y e x s probation (Candow 1 989).

2.3 The International Fund for Animal Welfare's Investigation into the Yewfoundland Seal Hunt

In 1995. the Canadian govemment introduced decreased subsidirs for the scal

hunt and plcdgcid that the renewed kill would br humane. wrll-regulated. sustainable and fier from wastr. IFAW later claimed to witness an entirely differcnt situation from that promisrd by the Canadian govemrnent. In tact. IFAW released information to the media that indicnted that the seal hunt had run wildly out of control: they argued that hunters killed over a quarter of o million seals in less than three months. Video rvidrnce obtained by the lFA W suygested that many seals were actually skinned alive. Many others were wounded by gunfire and caught on sharpened steel hooks or clubbed to death


with illegal weapons. Federal inspectors were unable to prevent sealers from kiliing ovrr three t imcs the lrgal lirnit of hooded seals (IFAW 1997).

Currrntly the responsibility to ènsure that quotas are not excreded lies with the Depanment of Fisheries and Oceans. Due to the logistics in reyulûting many dit'ferent sttüling ürras. DFO uses total allowablr catches and çlosing dates as a means of manûying the hiirvest. If prior to the ofticial closure of the harvrst. seaiers excsed the quota. it is not illegal becriuse thcre is no way ot'the knowing when to stop hunting other than by slosing dates. Sealers do noi have individual qiiotas and thctrel'orcr hanest as man? seals as possible until the closure date is announced. Ewntually seal hanesters may have to tcike sornc: responsi bili t y in ensuring t hat quotas are not excecidrd ( Andrews 1099 1.

In man'; instances. eithrr rrsidenis or tourists witiiessed hundreds of dead srals un

I c i d Ncwfoundland beaçhes. of which many had only the penises removed ( IF AU' 7 Most rrccntly. govrmment officiais charyed 1 0 1 sealers. inçluding the president and ri m a n b e r of the 19% Exccutive Council of the Canadian Sealers i1ssoci;ttion. with illsgally selliny more than 25.000 protected blurback hooded pups ( IFAW \ W7). Thest:

abuses occurred despite 30 yrars of attempted refonns. including the funds put into sealcr training. the exprnditure of aver $23 million for a Royal Commission on Seals and Scaling, and the annual costs of about 100 Federal inspectors. plus aircntt. iccbreakers.

and rescur ships. In addition. at least $ I million has been paid per year since 1 985 in direct and indirect tax payer subsidies to the sealing industry (IFAW 1997). Jacquelyn Lake. project coordinator of the Seal Industry Development Council. later confirmrd that charges against sealers for the sale of blueback. hood seals remain before the courts (Lake

1999). The delay in court proceedings are attributed to the large arnount of information required to lay charges against so many people and DFO's right to regulate the sale of seals. DFO's challenge to regulate the sale of seals was rejected in the Newfoundland


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